Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The woman in this photo is a reporter from Niigata’s largest newspaper. In addition to being a teacher, I am also the chief of the Career Education Center at my university, so journalists often interview me. This reporter was interested in assessing this year’s employment prospects.

I note that, ironically, the reporter who interviewed me, in turn, does not like to be interviewed. She also prefers to remain anonymous, thus, she would not let me photograph her face.

As amusing as I find this, our topic was quite serious. For the last several years, due to “Lehman Shock,” the Japanese economy has been stagnant and job prospects for graduating students have been uncertain. Japanese students, who traditionally find jobs before they graduate, often spend the whole of their senior year searching for employment.

Traditionally, Japanese companies have implemented life-long employment practices with a system of seniority-based wage increases. However, due to the recent bad economy, many companies have been switching to short-term contracts (usually for three or four years) with wage systems based more on employee ability. This has increased the pressure on university seniors in Japan to secure their career status.

University officials are against their graduates becoming “contract employees.” However, this appears to be the new reality Japan is facing.

As a result, one of my new duties at my college is to deliver a lecture to the parents of our students to teach them how to discuss the importance of becoming a full-fledged member of society with their children and to encourage them to cope with social changes in a flexible manner. I also preach the importance of developing stronger work ethics.

The bad economy obscures the future my students face. Japan is changing before my eyes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Vacation!

My classes are finally over today. I’m in my summer vacation at last. My seven week-summer vacation has begun. But Japanese universities also have a two-month spring break. Next month, I’ll be busy writing a couple of papers and visiting several places for both business and pleasure. In September I’ll go to Guam, the nearest American territory.
I'll soon post a lot of local news!